Posted in Exercise, Inspiration

A moment to stop and say “Thank You!”

 

THANK YOU on speech bubble price labels

“The aches, the pains, the muscle fatigue…no doubt I would end up sore.  Breathing heavy, buckets of sweat dripping from my body, can’t wait to go back for more.”

Training away on the elliptical machine the other day, it hit me – 6 months of working out with my trainer Matt at the gym and I’m still going strong.  Sure, there were a few hiccups along the way and a few fattening holiday meals to contend with, but overall, I am making progress as I continue to move forward, getting fit, loosing weight, and working towards a happier heart.

At the beginning, workouts were tough and I often wondered to myself how I was ever going to make it through a singe day, let alone multiple workouts in a single week.  Me89debb562f2b432eaa7d9cfca186999y body ached and my muscles were sore – Matt had me working out areas I had probably never worked out before.  As many other gym goers would likely agree, leg days were (and still are) the worst-especially the day or two following. Everyday tasks, like sitting down in a chair, walking down a flight of stairs – heck, even sitting down to go to the bathroom were a huge challenge – you literally want to laugh and cry at the same time!  What in the world was my trainer trying to do to me?!  Is the pain unbearable? No.  Uncomfortable? Heck yeah!  But the pain does pass and it’s back to the gym to do it all over again.

I could have easily thrown in the towel so many times and said “forget this!” when things
got a little hard.  But I didn’t, not this time.  There were days I was exhausted after work, but still, I showed up.  I’m sure there were plenty of times I grumbled and groaned, pissed and moaned, but with his upbeat and encouraging attitude, Matt kept me moving along. Then there were (and still are) those times I tend not to speak up, times when I may try to push myself a littlsistersinsneakers2e too hard…a sudden twinge of pain or discomfort and I probably should speak up, but I don’t.  Times when I say I’m fine, but I think Matt is beginning to learn when I’m full of it and calls my bluff.

So to Matt, my trainer, a huge thank you for getting me back on track and helping me to work towards a fitter lifestyle.  For being a great teacher and sharing your knowledge, even when you may think I might not be paying attention to what you are talking about.  Thank you for pushing me to work a little harder when I needed to and not so much during those times I shouldn’t. And most importantly, for keeping me motivated as I work towards better health.  Continue to be a positive influence to myself and others as you help us to achieve our personal goals.

“Push harder, push farther – push myself to the limit.  Get stronger, get fitter, create a better me!”

challengeyou

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Exercise, Health

Winning the battle

Like so many others attempting to tackle the weight loss battle, I was no different, trying new diets, buying DVD’s and equipment to work out at home, reading countless articles on the “perfect exercises” and what foods to eat to stay healthy.   I joined gyms and of course, made a New Year’s Resolution to get back into shape every single year.  Stubborn as a mule, I always thought I could tackle this battle myself.  Jumping in head first, making drastic changes and pushing too hard, it was easy to get discouraged and discouraged I did! As an individual with a heart condition, doctors reminded me numerous times that I had IMG_6802to be careful how and what I did because I could actually end up doing more harm then good.  I finally decided late this summer that it was time to stop trying it all on my own – it was time to hire someone who could give me a hand.  So, while I haven’t set much time aside over the past few months to keep up with my blog, I can say I have been busy hitting the gym after work, training with my new trainer.

Some individuals I have spoken with since beginning this journey insist that hiring a personal trainer simply costs too much money.  These days money is spent on the latest electronics, the newest cell phones, more advanced cars, buying new clothes of the latest fashion or even just eating out multiple times a week.  So many spend a fortune on material things without even batting an eye,  but find it hard to spend money in order to maintain good health.  For me, I simply didn’t want to spend the extra money – period!  But then I finally realized…I was already wasting money on things that just weren’t working.  Hiring a personal trainer would be an investment, but an investment that I decided was entirely worth making.  I’ve spent thousands of dollars visiting doctors to help keep me healthy, why not visit a trainer and spend money for the same reason?!

The next step I had to make was to find myself a personal trainer.  I was already a member at the local gym, so obviously I started my search there.  I was pleasantly surprised when I met Matt, head of PT, who actually became my personal trainer. With his basketball physique and bubbly personality, always greeting his clients with a smile and a positive attitude, he’s beenweight loss quote a great motivator and teacher whom I’ve learned a lot from over the past few months as I’ve worked with him to get myself back on track.  Baby steps is what it takes.  Sure, there are some days that are harder than others, and my muscles burn with fatigue, but in the end it is entirely worth it!!  I’m loosing weight, feeling great and getting back to a fitter lifestyle and my heart is finally loving it!

Sometimes it takes asking someone else for help and that is what I did.  Some battles can’t be fought on our own…sometimes we need someone else to help us fight, someone who knows the weapons that will help us win.

 

Posted in Diet, Exercise, Health

Time to begin again

imagesFV5SF81OOk, so I have certainly been slack in the blog posting department these past few months…alright, so it has been more like 6 months since my last post.  College certainly had it’s benefits, but I think I about fried my brain with all the writing I had to do over the two years I was in.  Once I graduated, I was ecstatic that I no longer had papers to write, articles to critique, discussion groups to participate in or exams to complete.  I had plenty of ideas for different posts and had every intention to write, but was constantly  finding myself hitting a wall and words just weren’t flowing as easily as I was hoping when I sat down in front of my laptop.  So, I took a much needed break from writing.  I guess that sort of thing is bound to happen from time to time.

images8QOUAU3XSince it is a New Year, what better time to start up again!  So what is in store for my blog this year?  Like many others, I set some resolutions.  It is time to focus on two challenges I have been facing and have vowed to correct this year.  1) To get back on track with a more consistent exercise routine and 2) To overcome this odd food texture phobia and eat a more colorful and healthier diet.  Lord only knows I need to broaden the shades of color on my plate with more fruits and vegetables.  Sure, I could set a goal to loose a specific number of pounds or to go on some sort of fad diet to get there, but personally, making some lifestyle changes seem like a much better idea.  Eating healthier and being more consistent with my exercising, the weight will begin to come off.  Not only that, my focus is to be healthy for my hearts sake now that I have my heart issues under control, not spend so much time focusing just on a number on a scale.

Exercise seems to be one of the top resolutions that many individuals set for themselves in the new year.  Overcoming an odd food texture phobia – now that is something I’m sure most people will chuckle about (in fact, most already have).  Needless to say, my fruit and veggie preferences are very limited, so this year may prove to be rather interesting.veggies

So stay tuned as I work through this years resolutions.  As I’m sure many will agree, a consistent exercise routine can be a challenge, so hopefully you all can help motivate me to succeed.  As for my odd food texture phobia…get ready to laugh as I am sure working through that resolution will be rather humorous at times!

Posted in Exercise

Stepping into a box of crayons

TPurple sneakershere once existed a time when walking into a store to purchase sneakers, you essentially had two colors to choose from; white or black which was then accented with a small amount of color.  On a recent trip to purchase a pair of running sneakers, I felt as though I had stepped into a box of crayons, surrounded by all sorts of colors with crazy names to boot.  From bubble gum pink to zesty orange, electric blue to slim green – the color combinations were endless!!  I had absolutely no idea where to start.  As the salesman approached me, I imagine he could read the overwhelmed look I had written across my face.

“A lot to choose from.” he replied.  “May I make a suggestion?  Ignore the colors you see and try some sneakers on.  It will be the best way to find the one’s that are perfect for you.”sketchers

There were obviously too many colors to choose from and I had no idea which color I wanted to pick, so I took his suggestion and began my search for the perfect fit, just picking up a random sneaker and trying it on.  However, ironically, I would soon find out that the colors were a clear indication of what would or wouldn’t be the best sneaker for me.

First, I tried fruit; a pair of gushing grape colored Asics trimmed in a granny smith apple green.  I was wearing fruit on my feet!  pink nikeFruit don’t belong on your feet and neither did this pair of sneakers, so it was on to the next pair.  Next, black Skechers decked out in a variety of bright candy colors.  Looking at them made me think of the colors of gumballs coming out of the gumball machine.  Pinks, yellows, blues, and greens; a sweet combinations that did not fit so sweetly afterall.  This was soon followed up by a pair of pink Nike’s that looked as though I had stuck my foot in a bucket of Pepto Bismol.  Needless to say, these didn’t fit my feet comfortably and no doubt were making me nauscious just staring at them.  Before long, I was trying to cram my feet into a pair of Caution tape, yellow sneakersbright yellow sneakers.  Perhaps the color was an indication not to try the sneakers on in the first place, warning me to stay away because as soon as I put those on, I knew right away they were clearly not right for me.

After spending an hour or so trying on numerous sneakers in nearly ever color of the crayon box, I settled on a pair of electric blue sneakers, complete with hot pink shoelaces and trim, reminiscent of a neon sign shining brightly.  They fit like a dream!  Finally, a pair of running sneakers that were the perfect fit complete with a color to suit.nike

Posted in Exercise, Health

Its time to run!

Alright, it’s time to get my run on!  Many of my coworkers as well as myself will be participating in our first ever 5K Corporate Challenge this summer.  Needless to say, I can’t remember the last time my feet have hit the pavement in a full force run.  Chances are, it was probably high school!  I am a originallittle nervous about how my heart will handle it, but I am certainly up for the challenge.  Without a doubt, plenty of training to build my endurance will be necessary if I am going to make it to the finish line, and this week I shall venture out on that journey.  The fact is, if I don’t try, I will never know if my body can do it.  To some, a 5K run seems like nothing…just a walk in the park.  For others, like myself, it will be a huge accomplishment to succeed.  With confirmation from my doctor to go ahead, I just have to remember not to push so far beyond what my body can physically handle.  I have to listen to my body when it says “slow down” or “take it easy”.  Most importantly, I can’t allow myself to get discouraged quickly.  It’ll take time to work up to a full 5K run and plenty of baby steps will finish-linebe taken to get there.  Without a doubt, since I started going back to school, my diet has been horrible, a regular exercise routine non-existent, and the stress level has certainly increased.  Thankfully, however, school is nearly over and I am ready for a change and training as well as participating in this 5K will certainly offer me the stepping stone for some changes a truly need.

I look forward to sharing this experience with you and hope you all can provide me with the encouragement to succeed!

Posted in Health, Health Management

Creating a Family Health Tree

It never fails…you visit a new doctor, and as part of being a new patient, a wealth of paperwork is handed your way.  You take a seat in the waiting room and begin to write down what seems to be your life story.  Without a doubt, there will be a section completely dedicated to writing down your family health history.  The only problem is, you are either unfamiliar or have forgotten about the details.  This was the case when I started to see multiple doctors when I initially got sick.  So, to resolve this, I came up with my own family health tree to document all of the health issues and events that my family members had faced.  There are numerous templates available online to follow or even print out and put to use, however, I decided to create my own using an Excel spreadsheet.  Whichever one works best for you, go ahead and put it to use or create your very own.

trees
“Like branches on a tree we grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one. Each of our lives will always be a special part of the other.” —Anonymous

What information do I include

First things first, be sure to talk with your family, let them know what you are creating and be sure to get their permission.  Next, ask them questions; you want to be sure that you have recorded the correct information.  What information you want to include is entirely up to you and your family.  Include such things as date of birth, date and cause of death and most certainly, medical conditions such as heart diseases, cancers, depression or other mental disorders, developmental problems, known genetic conditions  (if your family members can tell you what age those conditions began at, that is even better).   Include yourself, your parents, your grandparents, siblings, aunt, uncles…essentially anyone who is part of your family.

The best part about creating an electronic family health tree is that you can save the document on the computer and return to it as often as you need to, updating events as they occur.  Going to a new doctor?  Simply print off a copy to give to the new office to place in your medical file.  Not only will this save you the hassle of trying to recall all of the history of your family when filling out new patient forms, it will also provide the doctor with helpful information, especially in cases where illnesses or diseases are common in your family.  Knowing what conditions exist, a physician can ensure to keep his/her eyes open to early symptoms of those conditions, allowing them to address them sooner rather than later.

To assist you in creating your own Family Health Tree, check out some of these helpful links for more information or templates you may use….

My Family Health Portrait

American Heart Association Family Health Tree

 

 

Posted in Stress Relief

Relieving stress the creative way

“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.”
Vincent Van Gogh
I certainly am not a professional artist by any means, but for anyone who knows me personally, knows that I enjoy being artistitic and trying new things.  It is just another one of my ways to relax and relieve some of my stress.  It’s a great way to focus on something else for a while besides the world going on around me.
My latest adventure….Oil Painting!!  In the past, I’ve painted using watercolors, however, a recent trip to our local art gallery and viewing a painting from one of my favorite artist, Vincent Van Gogh, inspired me to try out oils.  A quick stop to the local craft store, a few inexpensive art supplies, and I was on my way.  Never before have I tried painting with this medium, but I figured what the heck, why not.  If I didn’t like it, I simply wouldn’t try it again – just like things in life, you can’t say you’re not good at something or like something if you’ve never given it a try.
So, what was I going to paint?  The first thing that popped into my mind….Van Gogh’s Starry Night – one of my favorite paintings.  Perhaps it’s the motion that your eyes take when viewing the painting itself or perhaps it’s the colors that drew my attention or maybe it’s the thought of falling alseep under a beautiful star lit night…..then again, I think it may remind me of dreaming.  Not only in literal terms, but dreaming about the things in life that I want and the goals I want to achieve.
With a fews squirts of some different shades of blue paint onto my palette, I grabbed my paint brushes and began swirling the paint around on the canvas.  “This is fun!” I kept telling myself.  Continuing to look at Van Gogh’s painting for guidance, I continued to create my own version of the Starry Night.  In no time at all, I was done!  My first attempt at oil painting and I was truly impressed with what I made.  I have to say, I really enjoyed this medium over the watercolor painting I used to do.  A bit less detailed and much more fun (as well as relaxing) to just throw the paints onto the canvas, mix the colors, and play with textures, using my emotions and stress to lead the paint brushes way.
So the next time I’m stressing, and I feel like painting, I will certainly be giving oil paintings another try…who knows what I can come up with next!